If you want to see the sort of movie a fanboy might cook up in his garage on equipment borrowed from the local high school, with his collection of “Famous Monsters of Filmland” in boxes at his side and buckets of red paint at the ready, “Hatchet II” will be your cup of blood. Otherwise you’ll find it a sorry throwback to the sort of chintzy slasher movie that filled theatres in the eighties but has now been relegated mostly to the DVD shelves.
Adam Green’s sequel takes up precisely where his 2007 original left off. Marybeth (now played by Danielle Harris), the sole survivor of the swamp slaughter of her boat tour companions by the disfigured legendary killer Victor Crowley (Kane Hodder), ventures back to the murder scene with a troupe of gunmen headed by Reverend Zombie (Tony Todd), a voodoo priest who wants to reclaim the swamp for his tours by killing Crowley. The group includes her Uncle Bob (Tom Holland, director of such old horror flicks as “Fright Night,” and looking pretty weathered here) and an assortment of caricatures—the bald-headed strongman, the horny doofus and his gal, the young brother of the earlier pilot, and so on.
What follows is a predictable chain of killings, staged with what Green probably considers cheeky gross-out-humor. (One guy’s decapitated as he’s riding astride the woman, for example, and she’s then impaled most uncomfortably from behind, while another character is sawed in half and then disemboweled. Earlier, another guy—played by John Carl Buechler—has been strangled with his own intestine, but you’ve already seen that in “Machete.”) These splatter sequences are all done with effects that, to put it charitably, aren’t cutting-edge. In fact, they’re less convincing than the stuff you’ll find posted on YouTube. And cutting away to a wall or tree on which a scoop of red paint is suddenly splashed comes off poorly, however self-deprecatingly it’s intended.
As to motive, the script does provide one, both for Crowley’s bloodthirsty rampages and Reverend Zombie’s machinations. Let’s just say that both are farfetched. And the acting, even from a pro like Todd, is strictly amateur night. Presumably that’s part of the joke, too.
If you’re searching for a picture to laugh at (not with, mind you) after you’ve sufficiently lubricated your sense of humor, “Hatchet II” might suffice. But whatever Green’s motives, it’s not bad enough to be good—just bad enough to be really lousy.